Iron River coldest place on earth


For The Daily News

MARQUETTE – Area residents can feel comfortable pulling their scarves a little tighter and throwing on that extra pair of gloves because they are living in what has been dubbed the “coldest place on Earth,” according to a new report.

The report – compiled by climatologists in the University of Alabama Huntsville’s Earth Science Center – states that when compared to seasonal norms, the coldest place on Earth in January was the Upper Peninsula of Michigan near Iron River, where temperatures were as much as roughly 6.95 degrees cooler than normal.

The report blames the cold on a large area of cooler than normal temperatures that covered most of the eastern United States and Canada in January, stretching just south of Hudson Bay through the Gulf of Mexico.

Don Rolfson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Negaunee, said it was a perfect storm of sorts that allowed the polar vortex to channel cold arctic air to the area, and keep it here.

“There’s a lot of different circulations that go on across the globe and when they line up in certain ways that enhance each other, that’s where you get these persistent, unusual patterns that develop,” Rolfson said. “It just to happens that this year, things aligned to lead to cold weather in the central and eastern United States.”

Rolfson said there should be no problem in breaking a 35-year-old record of the number of consecutive days below freezing. The current record, set Feb. 22, 1979, is 72 days,

“If we stay below freezing through Saturday, we tie it,” Rolfson said. “Sunday, we break it.”

Generated by climatologists John Christy and Roy Spencer, the report is part of an ongoing joint project between the university, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Christy and Spencer use data gathered by advanced microwave sounding units on NOAA and NASA satellites to get accurate temperature readings for almost all regions of the Earth.

This includes remote desert, ocean and rain forest areas where reliable climate data are not otherwise available.